Climbing Footnote

While writing my previous posting about mountain climbing in the Canadian Rockies it jogged my memorie about my former brother-in-law and climbing partner. About two years after we climbed Mt. Edith my B/I/L was climbing in the nearby mountains and his partner slipped and fell to his death.

A few years after that, he again was climbing in the area, slipped and fell, landing on a lower rock ledge with two broken ankles The terriane was very steep and his climbing parterner could not help him so he climbed down for assistance. The injured climber remained on the mountain by himself all night and in pain.

The next morning trained park crew climbers reached him and realized that they would need a helicopter for the rescue. Keep in mind this was in the late 60’s and fewer copters were available. The rescuers acquired a helicopter which was on rental to another company nearby. When it arrived it was found the mountain slope was too steep and they could not get close enough to the injured man without their rotor hitting the rocks.

With much hard labor and difficuly they hauled logs and timber up to the injured man and constructed a platform for the helicopter to land on. When they tried to lift him off the mountain the second time it was found that there still was not enough room to prevent the rotors from hitting the rock.

Again with much labor and time they dismantled the landing platform and moved the pieces some distance down the the mountainside where there was more room, and reconstructed the platform. Darkness was fast approaching so it was important to get him down and off the mountain

With considerable care, time, and difficulty they lowered the injured man down the slope to the platform. With inches to spare, the helicopter landed partly on the platform and recovered the injured man.

Once he was safely in the hospital and recovering, they sent the injured climber the bill for the helicopter which had been taken from the original lease. It was not a cheap adventure.